Sunday, November 19, 2006

Land of Plenty: Grade A


Land of Plenty

Michelle Williams, John Diehl, Richard Edson. Writer & Director: Wim Wenders

A PTSD Vietnam vet (JD) sees terrorists under every rock and drives his surveillance van around LA looking for “cells.” His niece (MW), newly arrived from an extended visit to Gaza, works at a homeless shelter (so the director can comment ironically on America as the land of plenty). She wants to reconnect with her family so hangs out with him as he hunts for terrorists. She seems to realize he is eccentric but doesn’t care. The uncle is brainwashed into the militarization of a “war on terror,” but she is well informed about cultural differences. In the end, he seems to realize he has been delusional, but giving it up means losing his meaning and way of being. It is a brilliant, artistic representation of different American reactions to the anxiety of post-9/11, seen by a German observer. While critical of America in some ways, the movie is ultimately compassionate. Very fine acting all around, excellent photography, good music.

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